Fight against corruption and political martyrdom
There have been high-voltage concerns and chorus of disapprovals in India and in the Western media over raids against politicians and their interrogations including that of Congress first family cum owner Gandhi dynasty/family members such as Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over issue of money launderings and corruptions. Earlier Gandhi’s or as many have started saying Congress’s in-law Robert Vadra was also treated in the same way by the Government of India’s investigative agencies over the issue of corruption and land grab, and has been charge-sheeted. All these started post-GE2014 in which Congress Party was badly defeated as the same won just 44 numbers of MPs, the worst kind of result the Congress Party had ever experienced. The same result was repeated in GE2019 in country’s first-past-the-post voting in practice since independence and as per the constitutional mandate with further decrease of overall fall in vote percentage though the Congress Party won marginally higher number of MPs but much less in number to even cobble up a 2004 or 2009 kind coalitions with like-minded and tainted dynasty owned parties to take oath of office at Raisina Hill.
Over the issue of raids on the party’s first family managed/owned properties and interrogations of their supreme leaders by Enforcement Directorate (ED) over allegations of corruptions/money launderings, people of eminence write and talk among others: ED saves Gandhi in Congress power game. Not every hero is a martyr, but every martyr is a hero. The party first family must be hoping for their martyrdom at the hands of the Enforcement Directorate as key members of the family targeted giving them hero status. They give example of Indira Gandhi’s arrest, who was targeted by the first non-Congress party government in late 1970s for her undemocratic adventures during her imposed draconian Emergency, which unleashed the family’s inner martyrdom.
As now her grandchildren jump the barricades and wag fingers at those in power, which are getting disproportionate high visibility on the prime time TV, will these acts convert to votes like their grandmother got in 1980? Indeed, this is a billion dollar question. Gandhi’s high publicity visit to ED office -unlike Modi’s visit to SIT office alone and without publicity- for several days once again enhanced the recall value of the Congress as the principal opposition party. The result, the Gandhi brand, which is on the spree of eminent decline, has turned out to be beneficiaries of current probe.
In nutshell, among the eminent writers and commentators, some are happy and some are unhappy over the relentless ED interrogations with backing of judiciary. Recently, the Supreme Court in its verdict upheld the provisions in PMLA 2002 the act that empowered the ED but challenged by opposition parties who propagate that they are victims of ruling party’s vendetta politics.
Now, let us discuss the Indira Gandhi’s so-called political martyrdom in late 1970s. Many argue that unsustainable actions against Indira during electorally mandated but incomplete tenure of first non-Congress experiment in independent India was the single major reason of her return to power within three years of her and Congress Party’s electoral eviction from power. But, this author refuses to accede to above argument for reasons such as: 1. The then ruling party, though was seen on the surface a single entity and formed the government accordingly; internally, there was no ideological convergence as that was an amalgamation of many political parties from divorced backgrounds such as Socialists, Centre-Left, Centre-Right, etc. who had joined hands hurriedly to remove dictatorial Indira-Sanjay regime from power and save the country’s democracy, resulted conflicts over policy formulation and lack of united face of governance. Apart from the above, some prominent ministers in the government found them losing their ideological bases they had assiduously cultivated over decades of struggles at grassroots level, one of the major reasons of fall of Janata Government. And the other reason being: 2. The selection of leader to head the government as Prime Minister was not based on his popularity or votes he had garnered for the new party and the loyalty of MPs he had, but based on experience of politician with ministerial experience during previous government, the kind of mistake taken place in 1947 when Sardar Ballavbai Patel’s electoral win was overlooked. Note: All politicians are not of Sardar Patel essence. Patel’s only concern was nation building, and thus he acceded to Mahatma Gandhi’s undemocratic imposition of Nehru as PM instead of be part of power fight with power hungry Nehru during early days of independence. It may be assumed that the great Patel might have accepted Gandhi decision with objective to show the world and the former British PM Winston Churchill, who had already branded Indian leaderships as a bunch of rascals and opined that they could not rule themselves united, that the newly independent country’s leaders were different.
Despite betrayal of democratic verdict under the watch of the Father of Nation, early independent India’s government survived from possible power-fight as seen in several newly independent countries around the world those days and in late 1970s during Janata regime on the foundation laid by Sardar Patel. Early fall of Janata experiment is prime reason of Indira return to power in 1980 as she had successful conveyed the message that nation needed a strong leader which her family dynasty only could offer, and non-Congress leaders and parties were just power hungry politicians and outfits respectively. Her earlier careful cultivation of her and her family centric hero-worship worked handy in her return to power. But her and her family dynasty centric domination did not work in 1989, and it was the Indira-Rajiv Government’s subsequent decade-long widespread corruption that caused Rajiv Gandhi and Gandhi dynasty falls from power in 1989. Here, I would like to mention that had Indira not assassinated by her own security guards in 1984 and following which her son not created an euphoria of ‘votes for orphan’, the subsequent General Election would have given a different verdict not matching with GE1980 as people by then had started distasting their foolishness in supporting corruption tainted dynasty politics in New Delhi.
Now, the mute question is: Should the government abandon the ‘crusade against political corruption’ for ‘political correctness’ which may lead to ‘validation of political corruption’ and makes ‘political corruption’ ‘integral part of nation’s politics’? It should not be. Therefore, one more question arises, and that is, ‘Who can lead this movement’? Certainly, that man is he who has proved that corruption stink can’t touch his skin, and has no dynasty inclination and not a product of contaminated political dynasty. Here, it is needed to write that the above analysis clearly tells the people want a government in New Delhi who has a ‘clean image’ and ‘strong leadership/governance skills’, and subsequently the same be simulated in state capitals. The apprehension that Indira Gandhi’s so-called martyrdom in late 1970s getting copied by her grandchildren to get back the governance of the country may not be feasible in 2020s as political environment in India has gone through a lot of political changes on the eve of the celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostav, and the water of the river Narmada -instead of getting wasted in Arabian Sea- irrigates the farm lands in distance Kutch desert despite several decades of Western illegally funded of opposition by the so-called environmentalists who lead agitations for both water shortage for farming and submerge of forest land in dam area. Therefore, the drive against corruptions, which taxed India’s economic development for decades and poisoned India’s political sanctity at every level, should be encouraged by people of reputes and substances.
By Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
(The writer is Research
Fellow at DRaS and Faculty
of Management Studies in
Trident Group of Institution, Bhubaneswar.)